On Friday March 18, Netflix will be premiering the highly anticipated second season of Marvel Studios Daredevil. Following up on the massively successful first season, the series continues following the heroic adventures of blind lawyer Matt Murdock. After introducing Marvel Comics stalwart characters such as Kingpin, Foggie Nelson, Karen Page and Stick in said first season, season two will be introducing more a-list Marvel characters. After looking at the history of The Punisher earlier this week, we now turn our attention to Elektra.
Elektra Natchios was created by writer Frank Miller during his now-legendary run on the Daredevil comic series. Debuting in 1981’s issue #168, the character was first introduced as a former college girlfriend of Matt Murdock who became a trained assassin after the murder of her industrialist father. Initially intended to be be a one-off, highly positive audience response prompted Miller to make Elektra a reoccurring character. She would appear as both an ally and enemy of Daredevil numerous times over the next year’s worth of stories. The character’s story was supposed to end in 1982’s Daredevil #181 when she was stabbed by the title character’s archenemy Bullseye, dying in Murdock’s arms.
While Miller had planned for the character’s demise to be permanent, Marvel had other ideas. Elektra’s popularity was such that the company quickly put plans in motion to bring her back. The character was first hinted to be resurrected by the HAND ninja clan in Daredevil #190, however the specifics were left ambiguous. A decade later, Marvel brought Elektra back for good as a supporting character in Wolverine’s solo title. Over the next two decades, the character became a cornerstone of the Marvel Universe starring in several on-going an mini-series, all of which built on her back story and history. In addition to her solo titles, the character has also played a major part in several of the company’s crossover events.
Similar to her Daredevil co-star The Punisher, the comic book popularity of Elektra has led to appearances in other media. Jennifer Garner portrayed the character in the 2003 Daredevil film which starred Ben Affleck and closely followed the original Frank Miller storyline. While the movie received middling reviews, it was financially successful enough to merit a spinoff/sequel starring Garner. Elektra premiered in January 2005 and was a box office bomb, both critically and commercially. While unsuccessful, the film still (as of 2016) holds the distinction of being the only Marvel film to be headlined by a female character.
Due to several Easter Eggs scattered through the first season, including a prominent one referencing Matt’s “Greek ex-girlfriend”, speculation was rampant that the character would appear in Daredevil season two. These rumors were confirmed in July 2015, when it was confirmed that Elodie Yung would be playing Elektra in the series. Based on the officially released synopsis and several trailers, the series seems to be taking its cues from a mix of her origin and the later, ninja inspired Elektra stories. Miller has come out against the character’s inclusion in the series, saying “they can do whatever they want, that is not her.”
Despite Miller’s protests to the contrary, the version of Elektra that will be seen in the second season of Daredevil is most certainly her, and is another chapter in the complex on-going history of one of Marvel’s premiere heroines.